With the prompt intervention of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), GSM Operators (Comium, Zain, Tigo and Africell) have reverted to the previous prices of top up cards and E- Voucher in a joint communiqué with immediate effect.
In the communiqué it was made clear to everyone that all differences relating to an increment in the current tariffs between the GSM operators and the regulator NATCOM have been resolved and mechanisms and process will soon be in place to ensure that future fluctuations in exchange rates and their effects on prices are based on an agreed formula and mechanism and will be in consonance with provisions of the Telecommunications Act 2006.
The communiqué also informs the general public that GSM Operators will revert to the previous prices effective 2nd April 2009 until further notice, but meanwhile we will continue to put together the structures and processes that will address future foreign exchange issue as a means of determining their effect on future price change.
Its also assures the general public that the relationship between the mobile companies and the regulator has always been cordial, based on mutual respect and professionalism.
President of GSM Operators, Zain Sierra Leone Managing Director Ted Sautri Phiri acknowledge the fact that there was an increase in the prices of Top up cards and E-Voucher for the past days.
He told reporters in a news conference on Thursday at the Conference room of NATCOM that they (GSM) Operators are happy that the matter has been solved amicably with solutions.
In his statement, NATCOM Chairman Siray Timbo announced that after very frank and honest deliberations in a civilized manner, both NATCOM and the GSM operators have resolved this matter and have conclusively decided that the cost of top up cards are reverted.
He explained of how he received several phone calls from people all over the country complaining about the increase and also the failure to give them prior notice to this.
The chairman furthered stated that “it was an embarrassing situation for us (NATCOM) because we did not know how the increase came about.”
Director of Communications at the Ministry of Information and Communications Alieu Bah said government was much concern about this price issue.
Bah noted that they are very happy and delighted that they have come to conclusion without buster.
Earlier on in a public notice from the Commission, it stated that some GSM Operators have unilaterally increased their tariffs without the knowledge and expressed disapproval of the NATCOM; in blatant violation of section 52 sub sections 2 of the Telecommunications Act 2006.
The act makes it mandatory on all public telecommunications operators to submit written proposals to the Commission for the tariffs payable for their services before rendering and charging for such services.
It could be recalled that there was a sudden increase in the cost of GSM top up cards in the past week.
By Abibatu Kamara